Indoor Field Hockey vs. Outdoor Field Hockey-What’s the Difference? (Part II)

Hockey is a sport that can be played both indoors and out.

The Rules

Fouls are similar between the two games. The ball cannot hit your feet. Third-party is a foul. You can’t lift at someone’s body unless they’re in front of the goal. The ball has to move a specific distance before going into the circle. No hacking.  

The largest change is that there is no lifting indoor except on goal.  In outdoor, you can “pop” the ball or lift it above someone’s stick to go around them, but not indoor.  Penalty corners are also played somewhat differently. 

In both outdoor and indoor corners, no one can enter the circle until the ball is inserted and the ball has to come out of the circle and brought back in for a goal to count. In outdoor, the defense can only have four players back while the rest of the team is at the 50-yard line. 

The offense can have as many players on the circle as they’d like. With corners for the indoor game, the defense is allowed to have as many players back as they’d like. The offense can have as many lined around the circle as they’d like.


The goal cages are similar sizes. Several of the fouls are the same. The protective equipment is alike. Though the most important thing is it is all fun. Basically, indoor hockey is the same as outdoor field hockey, but on a smaller field. The game is quicker, much smaller, and more controlled due to the limited space and the chance to rebound the ball off the sideboards. 

The game is known to enhance a player’s vision on the field and stick handling skills. If you’ve been playing outdoor field hockey, your skills can simply transfer over to indoor hockey. All you have to do is practice the basics skills.


Indoor Field Hockey vs. Outdoor Field Hockey-What’s the Difference? (Part I)

There are many different arenas’s when it comes to hockey.

The Field

Outdoor field hockey fields are made of grass, field turf, or Bermuda grass depending on the location and level of play. Regardless of the composition, all regulation field hockey fields for the outdoor game are played on a 100-yard x 60-yard pitch.  For indoor, the rules stipulate pitch length in the range 36 to 44 meters and width in the range 18 to 22 meters. The surfaces for indoor range from snap tiles, a gymnasium wood floor, linoleum or vinyl.  

The Stick

Both outdoor and indoor sticks come in composite materials as well as wood, and composite allows for better ball control, so we always suggest going with that choice. They also both have the same basic shape as one round side and one flat side. The biggest differences are that the end of the indoor stick is s and thinner and the weight is much lighter. 

In outdoor, it is critical for sticks to be heftier and have a heavier toe to put up with powerful drives and slaps that are critical when playing on a much bigger field.  The skinnier toe of indoor sticks allows for lifts to happen much quicker and easier, and the lightweight makes it simpler to control the ball while keeping a fast pace.

The Team Size and Positions

Due to the pitch size in indoor being way smaller than the outdoor pitch, fewer players are on the court at a time. In outdoor, there are 10 field players plus a goalie for a total of 11 players. In indoor, there are six players (a goalie and five players). Positions differ from team to team, but most outdoor teams consist of three to four forwards, three to four defenders, and three mid-fielders while an indoor team has two defenders, two forwards, and one mid-fielder.  In both games, all players are supposed to move up and down the field with play, particularly indoor since the field is so small.